Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Better To Hear You With My Dear

The tubes are in and life is grand for Mr Grayson John!


I’m not quite sure what the boy is doing with his face above, but he’s still a cutie pie in my book!

So – Monday morning at 5:45 Chris, G and myself tip toed out of the house to head to the surgical center for the procedure.  Grayson was very excited and didn’t appear nervous at all.  They were really great about getting us in and keeping things moving, so we didn’t have to do a lot of sitting around.

They asked us which parent was going to go back with Grayson while he fell asleep.  I wanted to be back there with him so badly, but when they explained that sometimes children falling asleep twitch or roll their eyes back in their head, I knew that Daddy was the right person for the job!  Chris put his scrubs on and they went back together to perform the operation.

Just a few minutes later Chris appeared back in the room with me again and told me that Grayson had done great.  They had asked him what flavor gas he wanted. Grayson chose orange. He then held his Daddy’s hand and stared intently in to Chris’s eyes as he drifted off to sleep.  You can imagine how much that touched his Daddy’s heart!

I was so thankful to have Chris there as we waited for the procedure to finish.  After about ten minutes the Dr. came in the room and told us that everything had gone perfectly.  He said that he was amazed by the amount of fluid behind Grayson’s ears, and (forgive the graphic detail) said that the largest suction had to be used to get all of it out.

After a few more minutes we were allowed to go back and be with Grayson while he continued to wake up. They had warned us that many children who come out of anesthetic are inconsolable for a bit.  It was true of Grayson. The poor little guy was completely out of sorts and very emotional.  Chris scooped him up and held him in a recliner for a while.  Grayson just cried and cried about his ears hurting.  Some Tylenol was given and a freeze pop, which just led to more drama as it wasn’t cooperating with him that morning!  I stood next to their chair and stroked his head which seemed to calm him.  He had his teddy along so they cuddled while we just took a little more time to settle.

After about half an hour we felt like Grayson was ready to head home.  He stood up and exclaimed, “My ears don’t hurt anymore!”  By the time we got home he was completely back to himself again.  He ate a full plate of breakfast and started running around the house with the other two. 

I have noticed a lot of changes in Grayson since the procedure. I have yet to hear him ask me to repeat myself, where before that was a very regular occurrence.  I have noticed that when he plays with his Tag reading system he doesn’t hold it right next to his ear to hear it anymore, but can keep it down by the book and hear it just fine.  I will whisper across the room and he hears every word perfectly!  It is just exciting!  He keeps telling me that I talk so loud now!  We are so thankful for how smoothly the procedure went and the changes that we are already seeing in him.  He will go back in one month for a follow up visit.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Now This Is What I Call








Sister is always waking up with all kinds of crazy do-s in the morning.  It takes quite a bit of tangle spray to work this mess out!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sacrificial Mothering

“He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

- Jim Elliot


I’m going to attempt to pour myself out here a bit.  Somewhat to share with you what’s been on my mind, but also as a way of processing some of what I’ve been dealing with, meditating on these past days, weeks, months…Let’s see what comes out…

I am currently in the process of obtaining the clock hours needed to renew my teaching license.  I have yet another two years before it expires, but with 125 clock hours needed I know that digging in before it sneaks up on me is probably a good idea.  As I’ve been researching classes, in-services, conferences, online programs, etc. I have had this excitement stirring in my heart.  I am excited to “get back out there”, even if that just means taking a few self paced classes.  I was talking with Chris a few days ago about the envy I sometimes feel towards other women (and men) who I see carrying on these amazing careers, obtaining higher education, getting professionally dressed every day, and just doing something with their lives. (Ooh that’s an ugly word)

Sometimes I look around my life and I wonder – What value am I adding?  What am I doing to further myself? Better myself?  Push myself?   (Do you see the selfish common denominator there?)

And yet, at the same time this inner battle rages as I know that if I were anywhere else besides the walls of this home right now I would not be content.

I guess it’s one of those grass is always greener complexities. Smile

And so – it’s something I’ve been really working on, thinking on, praying on…

And part of what I’ve seen is this.  And part of what I’ve known is this.

Mothering is all about sacrificing.

Laying myself down.  Laying aside my own wants, my own dreams, my own goals, my own desires – and investing myself in to the lives of my children.

Now, I carefully say all that above while at the same time having a respect and appreciation for not losing ourselves in our children.  I AM going to be taking the courses required of me to keep my license, and I fully support (and appreciate) those around me that juggle full time work and parenting, or schooling and parenting, or whatever the case may be.  In fact, I think of the mothers that I know who work.  It is incredibly sacrificial to work all day to support your family.  I have heard from many of my friends that it isn’t always the easiest to juggle it all.  Work, chores, kids, husband, and perhaps a tiny bit of “me” time snuck in there. This is not intended to be a battle of stay at home vs. working outside the home. Not AT all. 

I don’t think it comes down to the number of hours that we spend with our children – whether we are given the full day or whether we are given the evening, or whether we are given the weekend…it instead comes down to a matter of the heart.  Quality vs. quantity I guess you could say.

I have been convicted this week in how much I truly sacrifice myself for my children.

I care for them all day long, but how much of my care is given with joy? There are nights when I finally sit back on the couch and reflect on our day.  There have been days where I have realized that I never once just stopped and read a book to my child, or held them on my lap, or played a game with them, or had a conversation with them eye to eye.  It sickens me. Yes, I was physically with them all day long, but yet there was so much emotional separation taking place.

How often throughout my day do I sigh or show exasperation when one of my children needs their nose (or something else) wiped for the fifth time, or when I need to break up yet another fight when I am just trying to get one simple chore done?

How often does my daily list of to-do’s take priority over the loving and nurturing of my kids?  True loving and nurturing?

I have been placing a focus (and asking God for help cuz I don’t think it always comes natural) on having true joy in the work that I am doing.  When I am folding the third basket of laundry. When I am sweeping the floor again.  When I have to clean up yet another accident from a little girl.  Whatever it may be I want an attitude of joy.  A servant’s heart.  If I can’t be a servant to my own children, to love on them and sacrificially joyfully give, then what good am I as an educator, as a friend, as a daughter?  What good are my other dreams and ambitions if I can’t start here?

This is my battlefield.  This is where I have been placed for this portion in my life and I want to thrive here.  I want to look back on this time of my life as an amazing one.  One where I am setting my children up to be such awesome individuals.  Not one where I had an amazingly clean house and incredible meals on the table – but yet kids who would claim that they barely get to spend any quality time with their Mother.  It’s hard to do that though!  It’s such an expectation of society that we should be able to do it all.  The Super Mom mentality.  I know I have written about that before. I constantly have to fight against it and let myself be free from the pressures of trying to do everything to perfection.

Yesterday at the dinner table I just took some time to look at those precious faces around me.  So often I can become lost in the fact that my children are little.  Naively forget that they aren’t always going to stay that way.  I sat there thinking about the people that they are going to grow in to.  Who are they going to meet? Who are they going to mingle with?  Who might they influence with their lives?  How are we preparing them here, in the walls of our home, for the impact that they may make on this world later? 

My mind even took it a step further after a short discussion with Ethan on bed times, and with twinkling eyes he said, “Someday I’m going to be a daddy and I’m going to put my kids to bed and then I get to stay up late and make sure they stay in bed!”  My little Ethan – a father?  The reality of that just struck me. 

I looked at that table of those three amazing kids of mine and I thought about the grandchildren that may come in to this world someday through them.  What kind of parent is my child going to be to them?  Will they sacrificially give and love them?  Even when it isn’t easy?  Even when all you want to do is just finish one cup of coffee while it’s still warm? Have one adult conversation that doesn’t need to be interrupted?  Take a shower without a child pounding on the bathroom door? 

Today I choose joy.  It is a constant choice I need to make throughout the day. When my flesh wants to sigh (or scream), or roll my eyes.  I instead want to choose thankfulness.  Every battle I face has something I can be thankful for behind it. 

Let that be my focus.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Two Little Ears


There is this little boy.  I think he’s one of the greatest out there.  He’s four years old and feisty, but has the most gentle tender spirit tucked away inside.  This little boy is a charmer, a heart melter, and has completely captivated me.

For the past few months we have been noticing a lot of, “What did you say Mommy?”  “What did you say Daddy?”  And then when he failed his hearing test at his kindergarten screening we began to have some questions as to what might possibly be going on with those two little ears of his.

Today I took my precious child in to the ENT and they did some further testing.  It was discovered that Grayson has moderate hearing loss in both ears due to excess fluid that isn’t finding the correct way out.  The doctor believes that Grayson is hearing at about half of what he should be. I was astonished.  I had no idea it was that bad.  He (the doctor) was surprised that Grayson hasn’t complained to us about pressure or pain from the fluid, but he never let on to anything!

This next Monday Grayson will be going in for outpatient surgery to have tubes placed in both ears. 

When I called Chris to share the news with him his voice was filled with relief.  Although we hate to see our child have to go through any procedure at all, we are so thankful that it is something fixable without having to be too invasive or something permanent that he has to live with.

As we pulled out of the parking lot I was explaining to Grayson what was going to happen next week.  Grayson was worried that it might hurt him. As I went on the explain the procedure and that he was going to be able to be asleep, I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a huge grin spread across his face.  He then found out upon talking with his Daddy this evening that he also had it done when he was a little boy and that made him feel a lot better!

I think the sweetest comment of the day though came from his concerned buddy Ethan.  Ethan said, “But I am going to worry about my brother. I am going to want to make sure he is okay.”

I am so excited to see what this world sounds like to Grayson when he is able to fully hear! I was reading today that often times children ask their parents to talk quieter, turn down the t.v./radio etc. because it’s too loud for them after the procedure!

More to come as we know more.  The surgery isn’t scheduled yet, but we know it will be next Monday the 28th at some point in the morning.  Prayers appreciated!

Snow Much Fun

This past weekend the kids and I spent a few days visiting my parents. After their three week trip to South Africa over Christmas I was very lonesome for some quiet time with them on the farm.  My brother was also home with us for guard, so it was great to all be together and hunker down.

Friday was a beautiful “warm” January day in Minnesota with a high in the mid thirties.  It called for a celebration and a little outside time!  I had a great time being a kid again and exploring the land with my children as I used to do many years ago with my brothers. 

Sledding down the hill by my parents slough.

Chasing after the kittens (whom the boys have named Cinnamon, Piggy Bank, and Cutie).

Eating fresh snow (hopefully pretty fresh!)

Making snow angels

Attempting to build a snowman

Having a snowball fight

Jumping off the largest snow piles we could find

Boot skating on the ice

I love seeing my babies with rosy red cheeks.

That wonderful smell on their skin of fresh air that escapes as their coat is removed is intoxicating.

We came inside after that to some warm milk and excited tales for Ama all about our adventures of the day.










After that beautiful day some arctic air came rushing in, along with about an inch of snow. As you can imagine on the prairie of Minnesota snow and 50 mph wind gusts don’t mix well.  The kids and I spent an extra night at Bapa and Ama’s while the storm passed. It was a true Minnesota blizzard.  The scariest part was that it hadn’t even been called for so many people were caught off guard.  Luckily we were safe and sound in a cozy home and the kids certainly didn’t seem to mind an extra night at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm.

Today our high is –7.  -7!  Wind chills are reaching in to the –30 to –40 range.  It’s a good thing I love my family as much as I do, cuz man this cold isn’t much fun!  It is a good excuse to hunker down and get cozy though!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

REALLY Big Boy Beds!

When the boys were two and we moved them from their cribs in to toddler beds we always referred to them as their “big boy beds.”  When they turned four though this past December we could physically see that it was time to move them in to something even bigger!

With the two of them sharing a bedroom for the foreseeable future we wanted to make the most of the space in their room to accommodate two growing boys.  Chris found some building plans online to build a loft bed and after a few trips to the hardware store he got to work cutting, grooving, screwing, and nailing them together. 

We then set up a painting station downstairs in the playroom so we wouldn’t have to paint out in the cold garage!  It took a while to get every nook and cranny covered with primer and paint, but I think the end result was worth it. The boys were VERY thrilled with their new sleeping arrangements.



Saying goodbye to their toddler beds.


Final touch up!


Ethan in his cozy new digs



Grayson John



Up so high!


He can touch the ceiling!


I was a nervous wreck of a mother their first night this high off the ground.  Chris added one more safety railing on the side just to give me a little extra sense of security. He also bolted the beds in to the wall, so they aren’t going anywhere!  The boys do great with them.  They scramble up and down them like little monkeys and for the first week they actually told us when it was time for them to go to bed so they could get back in them!  (That excitement has worn off!) Smile

I must also add that for their birthday the boys also got a light bulb put in to their fixture along with all their clothes put up in their closet! This was a huge step for them as they before had only two little beds in a dark little room and that was it!   Life with twins! 

We are hopeful these beds will last them for many years to come.  We still have one of their little toddler beds for sale if anybody is interested in purchasing it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Four Year Old Mice

Last night Adelyn and I were sitting upstairs Skyping with Aunt Mary.  We were having a great conversation and Adelyn was enjoying singing song after song to her precious Auntie.  Then Ethan comes upstairs rubbing his tummy and says, “My tummy is so warm!”  I was a bit curious as to why he would make such a statement, but didn’t think much of it. 

Then, a few minutes later I realized that it was eerily quiet in the house.  I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my boys were in to something. Smile  Mother’s intuition I guess!

I carried the computer (along with Aunt Mary) downstairs and this is what I found:


Just before going on the computer with Mary I had baked some apple cinnamon muffins to have for breakfast this morning. I knew that today was going to be a busy day and so I thought I’d give us a little head start by cooking these up the night before.  Well I guess the boys couldn’t resist this muffins sitting right out before them and proceeded to eat the tops off of all but two muffins out of twelve!

Our goodbye to Aunt Mary had to be pretty abrupt as this mother, while amused at her sons antics, had to dole out some consequences for this little stunt.

One of those consequences being that Adelyn and I will enjoy what is left of these muffins this morning for breakfast while the boys are served something else.  As Aunt Mary pointed out though – they have already gotten their fill! Smile

Never a dull moment!

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Big Girl Kind of Day

I know one day Adelyn is going to love the fact that I decided to blog about her and her pottying habits.  I can’t help myself though! Yesterday was a big day in the life of my baby girl!

We have been working on and off with Adelyn when it comes to her potty training.  I started a couple months ago, but then found with the business of the holidays that we had kind of quit trying.  I truly feel like she is at an age where she can understand what is going on and is ready for this jump.  She’s very excited to be “big like brudders” and go to the bathroom like they do!

I’ve basically just jumped in full throttle and put her strictly in underwear (or nothing!) when we’ve been home the past few days.  The first day it was just accident after accident after accident.  Poor little sweetheart was so upset every time.  We continued to talk it through though and she seemed to understand what she needed to do.

Well yesterday I was up in the kitchen giving Grayson a haircut when I heard this little girl yell, “I did it Mommy!”  She had her little hands in the air raised over her head in victory.  I dropped the scissors on the counter and ran down to see.  Sure enough, she had!  Grayson, Ethan, and myself started to do the potty dance and whoop and holler and cheer for her! She was so so proud of herself!

Adelyn potty

Taken a few days ago.  Just hanging out! Smile


This was her yesterday after her successful attempt!  She was so proud of herself and loved telling her Daddy all about it last night.

We’re so proud of you Adelyn! My baby is growing up!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Family Shoot

This past fall we had our family pictures taken by the best friend of my second cousin. You got that?  She lives here in our city and was running an incredible offer for a 45 minute mini – session along with the rights to 15 of your favorite images.  I thought it was a perfect time to get some family pictures taken. We hadn’t had really anything done since Adelyn was born, so we were long overdue.  I know most of you reading this have already seen a lot of these on Facebook or our Christmas card, but I wanted to include them on here too, along with some of my favorites.  When deciding what we were going to wear for pictures I did two things.  First, I looked at the main living area of our home where I knew I would want to enlarge and frame a lot of these pictures.  I am definitely a fan of this color scheme and find that it runs through much of our home (as much as is decorated right now that is!).  Second, I went through our closets to find clothes that would coordinate in those colors.  I was surprised to find many pieces that we already owned. I did buy Adelyn’s skirt and tights at Target.  It certainly helped to keep the cost down!






















And one of my all time favorites…


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Highs and Lows

Every night when we tuck Ethan and Grayson in to bed they tell us what their high and their low was from the day.  Tonight after I asked Grayson his low he thought for a moment and then he said, “I didn’t have any highs or any lows.  I just had a really great day.”  Then he went on to pray for his baked oatmeal in the morning.  He prayed that the oatmeal Mommy made him (he had a small taste before bed) would still taste yummy in the morning and not be cold yet.

Christmas Company

Pop and MawMaw were able to come from Virginia and stay with us from December 7 until December 16th.  We had such a great time and stayed very busy during their week here!


We spent some time celebrating Christmas together. 



New jammies!


Adelyn was given a Tag junior for Christmas.  She loves it and wants to carry her little Scout with her everywhere she goes! (And leave it on and run down the batteries every couple days or so). Smile


The boys were given the older version of the Tag system.  It is such a neat concept! I really enjoy the books along with the boys.  It is a nice quiet activity they can take part in while I am making dinner or dealing with Adelyn or whatever.  They can read the book to your child, along with educational activities and games on every page.


This one is just kind of thrown in there. But seriously folks, don’t you just want to squeeze her? Smile




The kids and I spent one of their last days at the Mall of America together.  It’s great to stay cozy warm, but yet be able to get out some energy riding some rides and walking the massive mega mall!  We had a great day, complete with lunch at a tropical oasis and cookies and smoothies to wrap it all up!

Thank you MawMaw and Pop for taking the time and spending the money to come all this way to be with us.  We love you both very much!


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